Ecclesiastes comes from the Latin transliteration of the name of the author of the book, translated into Greek, which means ‘Gatherer’.
The book is about the ‘gathering’ of wisdom, wealth and happiness.
Book is part of the OT Wisdom Literature.
Written after 450 BCE.
Contains Persian and Aramaic ‘loan words’.
Persian period = economic activity, aided by standard coinage
Major themes are: individuals always push to change their current state (8:8), we all die (3:19), life has a cycle (3:1-8), how every generation must deal with life which they can’t control, God is sovereign in the end (12:12-13).
Key words: Vanity (x38), under the sun (x29), wisdom/wise (x52), man (x47), labor (x36), and evil (x22).
Help from the Book on the Christian life:
- Death is indiscriminate. All are susceptible. The future is not known or controlled by humans. James 4:14, You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. We find that our only help is in God.
- Joy and Sorrow. Our truest gain is in Christ.
- Work and Vocation. Work is toil, but vocation is purpose.
- Knowledge of God
- Knowledge of Self.
Notes taken from the Oxford Annotated Bible and Ecclesiastes (by William B. Brown).